Bill Heberle's passion of restoring antique Dodge trucks went up in smoke Monday afternoon when the garage on his property caught fire. Bill says he lost all of his repair tools and several of the classic trucks.
"I spent a lot of time on one. My soul is into it. That's gone," he said. "It could've been a lot worse if the wind had shifted or [if] no one had seen it in time. Passer-bys on the road saw it and called it in. My son saw it from the driveway. He called; yeah, so it could've been a lot worse. We're just thankful for that."
The garage, or tree nursery as the Heberles call it, is still smoking a day after the devastating fire. Heberle Stables has been a staple on Browncroft Boulevard in Brighton for more than a century. It is a fourth-generation horse farm.
"Anything with horses, we're doing it," Bill said.
Bill says thankfully none of the stable's 53 horses were injured during the fire. Still, he has received an outpouring of support since it happened.
"In the horse business, it's a tight-knit community. The minute there's a barn fire, every stable in the area will call; 'you need trailers? You need stalls? Whatever you need,' you know," he said.
Bill says he is grateful for their concern and for the dozens of firefighters from multiple fire companies who responded.
"They're overworked and under-paid. You don't realized how much you need them until they show up," he said.
The Heberles have insurance, although Bill says it is minimal and will not cover their loss. It is unclear whether or not the family will rebuild.
"The smoke's gotta settle and clear. We've got to get the mess cleaned up and then we'll look to see what we're going to do," he said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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